For a British citizen who’s spending some time working in Hong Kong there were two priorities. Firstly to find somewhere to stay that didn’t cost half my salary and the second was to work out a way to get a UK IP address in Hong Kong. The first was solved thanks to a tip off from a local friend, who’d have thought living on a boat would be the solution, the second issue was solved quickly afterwards.
It’s probably an issue that lots of expats face, the issue that although virtually everything on UK television is broadcast online if you’re outside the UK you can’t see it. When you connect through to the BBC website for example, you’ll discover a different version if you’re in Hong Kong. All you’ll get is the International version, which has none of the live TV or the archived programmes in BBC iPlayer.
This is what it looks like – you’ll see a shop link, advertisements and no sign of the BBC iPlayer link at all.
That’s because the BBC site looks up your IP address when you first connect, and has routed you through to this international version instead. You can go directly to the BBC iPlayer web page, but that will do you know good because it also checks before you try and play any video too. So is that it? No Match of the Day, no BBC News, no dark detective dramas to while away a humid Hong Kong evening.
Fortunately not, if you ask virtually anyone in the same situation you’ll soon discover the solution which can cloak your address – it’s called a VPN. This stands for Virtual Private Network and it is the simplest way to obtain a UK IP address in Hong Kong. Just sign up for a service, most come with some little piece of software to enable it to work. Make sure you connect on to a British Server and when you visit any UK TV website it will see the IP address of the server not your own. Here’s one in action to watch the BBC –
As you can see your location is actually irrelevant, the important factor is the location of the VPN server you are connecting too. This is the simplest way to get a British IP address and it enables access to all the main UK TV stations. What’s more a VPN is needed if you are ever in mainland China to access loads of websites which are routinely blocked by the state.
There’s nothing wrong with using a VPN in China, literally millions of people do this however it’s best to be discrete. In Hong Kong though it’s fine, most expats will use them routinely. It’s also useful for accessing normal UK websites such as online banking which may be restricted abroad, also using online betting sites can be difficult outside the UK too. None of these are an issue when you use a UK VPN to give you a British IP address. Hell you can even watch the UK version of Netflix instead of being routed to a Hong Kong version of the site! Try . it’s been used in China for over ten years.